Cardiovascular and anti-inflammatory health benefits of extra virgin olive oil are well-known facts. However, the balanced fatty acid composition and the unique polyphenol content of olive oil have other less discussed effects for human health. According to Wikipedia, olive oil is a source of at least 30 phenolic compounds, which possess powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
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Supporting of Overall Bone Health
Researches show better blood levels of calcium because of olive oil consumption. Besides, certain polyphenols in olive oil improves bone formation.
There is also a scientific suggestion about special olive oil benefits for the bones of post-menopausal women. Olive oil intake improves blood markers of overall bone health in women of post-menopausal age. Bone health benefits are important reason for regular olive oil consumption.
There is strong evidence that olive oil improves cognitive function. This benefit of olive oil especially matters for older adults. A recent large-scale study in France proved the efficiency of “intensive use” of olive oil for visual memory and verbal fluency of older adults. “Intensive use” meant regular olive oil consumption instead of other oils and butter. However, too caloric and overloaded with fats diet has adverse effect for human health and harmful for the cardiovascular system. 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil for its health benefits are enough.
Other surprising health benefits of olive oil for brain-related problems include helping with such conditions as unbalanced water content, too easy passage of molecules across the blood brain barrier, hypoxia, and unbalanced nervous system activity.
Certain types of cancer are less likely to develop due to the polyphenols of olive oil. The main cause of many types of cancer is too much of oxidative stress of the body cells. Overly reactive oxygen-containing molecules damage cell structure and function. Another reason of cancer is chronic excessive inflammation. Researches prove that 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil per day significantly lower the risk of cancer of different types, and first, cancer of the breast, respiratory tract, upper digestive tract.
Olive oil has also showed good result on the controlling of the growth of already existing cancer cells.
It is interesting that olive oil works in different ways to provide its anti-cancer benefits. The first way is the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of polyphenols. The second mechanism is the improvement of cell membrane function. The third way of lowering the risk of cancer is positive altering gene expression in cells, so that their antioxidant defense system improves.
Olive Oil for Skin
Olive oil has been a traditional beauty product for the peoples of Mediterranean Basin for centuries. The oil contains essential fatty acids, vitamins, polyhenols and phytosterols, which are natural moisturizers, antioxidants and bacteria killers. According to Leslie Baumann, M.D., author of The Skin Type Solution, both ways of using olive oil – external application and internal consumption are beneficial for the skin.
The main reason why Baumann praises the using of olive oil for skin is its antioxidant content. There are at least four different antioxidants in extra virgin olive oil, which fight harmful free radicals and thus, lowering the risk of skin cancer and premature aging.
Baumann advises an uncommon use for olive oil on skin. As olive oil possesses good lubricating properties and the skin cannot absorb the oil too fast, it can serve as a safe and natural product for shaving. Olive oil can substitute two commercials – shaving cream and after-shave balm. You will experience close quality shave without skin redness and irritation afterwards.
Olive oil helps to solve some more common spread beauty problems – chapped lips and dry cuticles. Mix the equal amounts of olive oil and melted beeswax and enjoy a natural super soothing lip balm. Cuticles will become soft and plump, if you soak your fingertips in olive oil mixed with water.
To nourish and moisturize the whole body without any efforts at all, add a few tablespoons of olive oil into bath water. You can substitute you commercial cleanser with olive oil to get even more benefits from daily face caring procedures. Olive oil suits even gentle skin such as the one around eyes.
Another olive oil skin care option is to mix it with sea salt and rub it over the body to exfoliate outer skin layer. After such a procedure, the epidermis will look radiant and renewed.
Modern market offers a vast variety of olive oils. To choose the right oil for skin care, you should follow the general principle – the less processed an oil the more nutrients it contains. Therefore, the most beneficial type is cold pressed extra virgin olive oil. It comes from the first mechanical pressing and it was not heated beyond room temperature during manufacturing. If oil is marked as “virgin”, it comes from the second pressing. “Regular” or “Pure” olive oil are not good for your skin as they are refined and filtered. They are lack of all the valuable nutrients of extra virgin olive oil, but contain chemicals instead.
How to Use Olive Oil for Skin
One of the best beauty products that the nature has in store for us is extra-virgin olive oil.
The nutritional content of the oil make it a great moisturizer and protector against free radicals and harmful environment.
There is a number of simple ways of olive oil skin care:
Olive oil is a very effective moisturizer. Apply the olive oil on damp skin after bath to make it supple and soft. Olive oil can penetrate deep inside skin layer. It not only hydrates skin, but also provides natural long-lasting shield of moisture to decrease future water loss. Remember to put olive oil on steamed damp after-bath skin to reduce the feeling of greasiness the oil might leave. It might take some time for your skin to absorb olive oil. However, the advantages of this natural product overweight a few inconviences you might experience.
To get a great natural body scrub, make the mixture of sea salt and olive oil: a little lemon juice or any essential oils would be beneficial as well. Massage the scrub into your body skin to get rid of dead cells and to enrich the new ones.
To relax, nourish and sooth your body with no efforts at all, simply add a few tablespoons of olive oil to bath water. A drop or two of any essential oil on hand will make your bath even more luxurious.
Make-up remover & cleanser.
Pure olive oil can remove makeup gently and effectively. You can use the oil even for the delicate skin around eyes without the threat of irritation and allergy. The regular usage of olive oil will smooth out first fine lines near eyes.
Alternatively, you can mix the equal doses of olive and castor oils, massage them into face skin and then cleanse your face with a very warm cloth.
Olive oil on lip skin heals dry and chapped thin outer layer. It also provides future protection against aggressive environment.
Nail & cuticle care.
Brittle nails and dry cuticle will benefit from olive oil as well. Simply rub a few drops around nails and cuticle area. Sweet almond essential oil will enhance olive oil properties. You will enjoy the natural shine of your nails and plump moist cuticles.